Monday, October 5, 2009

Fourth District Upholds Trial Court's Denial of Certification of UCL Class

On September 30, 2009, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of class certification in Kaldenbach v. Mut. of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 2009 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7907 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. Sept. 30, 2009). The Court’s opinion, which is unpublished, recognized that In re Tobacco II precluded focus on issues relating to class member reliance and injury.  The Court's analysis is seemingly contrary to the Second District's unpublished opinion in Cohen v. Direct TV (discussed previously here). Notwithstanding this finding, however, the Court ultimately concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion insofar as the court's findings regarding predominance were supported on other grounds.  The thrust of the Court's analysis on these points was as follows:
Relying upon In re Tobacco II Cases, supra, 46 Cal.4th 298, and Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 1282 (Massachusetts Mutual), Kaldenbach argues reversal is required because the trial court improperly premised its order denying class certification on the complexities of establishing each absent class members' reliance on the representations made and their injury. But that was only one of the individualized issues the court found predominated and could not be proven on a class-wide basis. As we have already noted, we affirm the order denying class certification if any of the trial court's stated reasons are sufficient to justify the order. (Lebrilla, supra, 119 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1074-1075; Caro, supra, 18 Cal.App.4th at pp. 655-656.) There were myriad other individualized issues the court found to predominate including whether any given agent took Mutual's training, read its manuals, and routinely followed the training and materials; and what materials, disclosures, representations, and explanations were given to any given purchaser. These individualized issues go not to the injury suffered by a purchaser, but to whether there was in fact an unfair business practice by Mutual. Neither In re Tobacco II Cases, supra, 46 Cal.4th 298, nor Massachusetts Mutual, supra, 97 Cal.App.4th 1282, compel a different result.
Kaldenbach v. Mut. of Omaha Life Ins. Co., at 21-22.

1 comment:

  1. very informative information, consumer and general public need to know such information